Interview: Sean Paul Talks Upcoming Album and His Views On Jamaican Radio

Sean Paul is no new kid on the block but after returning from a 3 year hiatus back to Red Stripe’s 2017 Reggae Sumfest stage, the 44-year old dancehall legend performed like a rising young star with something to prove.

Known for infusing dancehall and reggae elements into mainstream pop and hip-hop styles, Sean has been an acclaimed rapper, singer, and producer since his first album dropped in 2000. Since then, he has collaborated with an abundance of acclaimed artists, such as Sia, Little Mix, Migos, Dua Lipa, and Tory Lanez, to further propel his career. Jamaica’s musical maven recently signed with Island Records, a division of Universal Music Group, and hopes to release his seventh studio album in 2017.

Backstage at Reggae Sumfest, the reggae and dancehall festival in Montego Bay, VIBE shared a quick chat with the Grammy award winner about his upcoming album, future plans and more.

VIBE: Sum Fest fans sure did miss you after these last 3 years (laughs)
Sean Paul: Haha, I’ve being doing quite a few songs and touring a lot lately. Also, I’ve been working on an album that I wish to drop next year.

What singles have you dropped so far?
We’ve dropped singles such as “No Lie” with Dua Lipa and “Tek Weh Yuh Heart” with Tory Lanez. There’s a song with Migos out right now. We’re just trying to drop stuff out there in different genres that are dancehall and hip hop oriented. Also, I took it to a pop level so I can basically [collaborate with] a person like Sia, Dua Lipa, or Shakira with [an upcoming single] and represent dancehall on a pop level. I’ve just been working on crossing different genres while putting my own unique stamp on it.

I find it interesting how you expressed mid-set that you have mad love for Jamaica, but Jamaica doesn’t fully rock with you, specifically with radio airplay. Why do you think that is? Is it the system or the listeners?
There’s a breakdown [that occurs] sometimes when there’s too much of certain things. So sometimes there’s too much songs, there’s too much artists, there’s too much digital. Everybody’s trying to hustle their thing and the lines get blurred. People question, “are you a producer or are you a musician? Are you an artist or are you a songwriter?”

So there’s an issue with people constantly trying to box you into a category?
Yes, so everything’s all scattered. It causes confusion at times, so they don’t play things that are hard to place. I mean, there’s new artists everyday and they cannot fight that. You have to make noise if you hear there are good artists and good songs out there they’re not playing.